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Re: [XML 1.1] Allowable element names

From: Ian B. Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 08:59:36 -0400
Message-ID: <3D11D1B8.1020605@w3.org>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
CC: WAI Cross-group list <wai-xtech@w3.org>

My reaction to this is that:

  a) Allow anything
  b) Suggest restraint and provide the authoring, I18N, and
     accessibility reasons.
  c) Don't require a schema for every XML usage.

I would like few rules and lots of persuasive rationale.

  - Ian

Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
> XML 1.1 is in last call awaiting comments on or before 28 June:
> http://www.w3.org/TR/xml11/
> 
> A question has been raised about whether there should be restrictions on what
> characters can be used in element and attribute names, and if so what kind of
> restrictions.
> 
> The issue comes about particularly when people are going to edit XML. If they
> can't determine the name of an element or an attribute (for example if it is
> a symbolic character or collection of them, rather than a recognisable word)
> then they will not be able to work with the XML language. For example, screen
> readers do not necessarily have a capacity to present math characters or
> "dingbats" - symbols like smiley faces that exist in unicode as characters,
> and music notes may not be meaningful to people who are Deaf. Likewise, it is
> important for international usage that arabic or chinese or thai characters
> can be used by people whose natural writing script is one of those (and so on
> for other scripts).
> 
> Some thoughts have been suggested. Broadly there are a couple of different
> approaches, although there are also intermediary possibilities.
> 
> 1. There should be restrictions that require names to come from a single
> range of characters used in a single language, and should be based on
> meaningful words (this could be enforced by requiring a dictionary lookup).
> 
> 2. It is fine to use any characters, since authoring tools can allow the
> editor to assign their own version of the name for local use - i.e. doing a
> search and replace before beginning, or whenever an unusable name is
> encountered, and then convert those back to the required characters on
> saving.
> 
> A possible intermediate position is that an XML language must have a schema
> which provides an annotation that can be used as an alternative name, or
> documentation so the authorr can understand the purpose of the element and
> provide a name useful to them.
> 
> This has implications for and relationship to the XML accessibility
> Guidelines - http://www.w3.org/WAI/PF/XML - as well as for authoring tool
> accessibility guidelines and internationalisation.
> 
> The PFWG has decided to continue its discussions in public, to enable the
> public working groups to easily join the discussion and see the issues.
> 
> Cheers
> 
> Charles McCN
> 



-- 
Ian Jacobs (ij@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
Tel:                     +1 718 260-9447
Received on Thursday, 20 June 2002 09:02:30 UTC

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